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hammered dulcimer

Loose Change

LooseChange

Did you know that the total amount of loose change scooped up by TSA officials at airports in 2019, before the pandemic, was an impressive $926,030.44. Unclaimed money is deposited into a special account where it can be tracked easily and Section 44945 of title 49, United States Code, grants the TSA budget authority to spend it. On September 30, 2019, the TSA had $3,618,696 available from loose change alone! (I could use some of that!) 

I like loose change, and I’m not too proud to pick up coi…

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Deadlines Work

DeadlinesWork

Nothing motivates me more than a deadline. If there is an upcoming performance, I get to work. When I was taking piano lessons, over the last couple of days before my next lesson … I’d get to work for real. When I am preparing to go to a jam session or workshop, I tune my instruments and … yep, start limbering up the fingers.

It’s just a true fact of life, deadlines motivate musicians to practice. So how can we make deadlines work FOR us instead of AGAINST us?

  • Break down your musical proj…

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What Can I Learn from a Concert?

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It is an interesting phenomenon.

Public performance is how many of us "discover" dulcimers, or the style of music that catches our fancy.  Sometimes this sows the seeds of "I've gotta learn how to do this for myself!" or "I've got to get an instrument" or "I've got to get a teacher" and "I've got to share this music, this instrument, what I've learned, with other people."

Yes I hear this observation from many people who host and organize dulcimer festivals:

"We are so surprised at the number …

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Are You Stuck?

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If you live in one of the northern states, this time of year getting stuck in the snow is a real concern. If you’re retired, you just stay home when there’s a fresh snowfall that the city hasn’t yet cleared. But if you have a job, you have to get out in it anyway. And sometimes you get stuck.

The same can happen with your music. Let me ask you a few questions.

  • Are you satisfied with the pace of your progress?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of what you should be practicing next?
  • Do you…

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Harder Than You Thought?

Have you ever looked at the tab for a new tune and thought, “Now that doesn’t look so hard.” Then when you started trying to work through the piece, you discovered it was harder than you thought.

Yep, that’s happened to me too. I think I’m quite nimble with my hammers, and they get all tangled up trying to strike the right strings at times when I’m learning a new piece.

Then should I do? Do I just wad up the paper with my tabs or sheet music and throw it in the trash? OR, should I stick with…

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Baaaaaad Habits

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Here are some true facts about baaaaad habits.

  • You can play your dulcimer alone or along with others … in spite of bad habits.

  • You can get compliments from people about your dulcimer playing … in spite of bad habits.

  • You can reach some of your goals … in spite of bad habits.

However, when you play your dulcimer with bad habits, you are moving toward an invisible brick wall. Eventually, you’re going to be stopped in your tracks. I’m not making this up. You’re not going to be able to continue advancin…

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Jam Tracks added to the Backing Tracks Library

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by Steve Eulberg

Jam Tracks added to the Backing Tracks Library

There have been several updates that we've been making to the Backing Tracks Library in DulcimerCrossing this past year.  In addition to NEW TRACKS, we've added the description of the track so players know whether there is an introduction or not, and how many times the track is repeated.

As I have spent more time in this library, it is clear that several of our tracks are aimed toward LEARNING and others are aimed at JAMMIN…

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Reflections

Reflections


Christmas was over in the blink of an eye! And then the New Year’s fireworks in our area announced the beginning of 2024. I imagine some of us made some New Year’s resolutions that night or the next morning. And many of us have also taken time to reflect on how things went over the past year.

Let’s just take a moment to consider our musical achievements in 2023.

  • New Skills: Was this your first year to play the dulcimer? Did you learn some new chords, new licks, or new techniques this year?…

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Practice with PURPOSE

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I made a lot of progress in sharpening up my dulcimer skills during December. I noticed my arpeggios got more accurate, some of the tunes I was dragging made it up to tempo, and my muscle memory improved (I didn’t have to keep my nose down on the strings!).  In addition, my memorized repertoire of Christmas tunes became extended way beyond what I could play at a moment’s notice in October and early November.

What made the difference? Well, to be honest, peer pressure. I knew there would be Ch…

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Looking for a Gift? Give Your Child/Grandchild a Dulcimer!

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I read about a study about the brain and aging … since I have a brain and I am aging (78 last birthday!). The study was conducted by Brenda Hanna-P)lady, Ph.D., who is a neuropsychologist in Emory's Department of Neurology, and cognitive psychologist Alicia MacKay, PhD. The study was to determine if people who spent time throughout their lives playing a musical instrument would score better on cognitive tests than folks who never picked up an instrument.

The study tested 70 individuals age 60-8…

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